Previous sections of this chapter suggested that you do various tasks. Each expanded your knowledge about the SWLL or provided information on your current status. Another way to expand your knowledge is to experiment. In this section we look at experiments you can try. The results will prove useful when you start on the SWLL.
The first subject for experimentation is the food you eat and the beverages you drink.
If you currently eat a typical American diet, including several fast food meals a week, you will need to modify your eating habits once you start on the SWLL. You may experience a sense of loss when you do this, but you can minimize it. During this preparatory period you can find new foods that you consider delicious.
The best way to experiment with different foods is to go to restaurants. Most Americans are familiar with Chinese and Italian cuisines, but there are many others.
The subcontinent of India has many cuisines, from the mild and fragrant dishes of the north, to the burning hot curries of the south. Indian meals come with a range of condiments, including the cool and soothing raita (cucumber and yogurt), to sweet mango chutney, to fierce pickles. Indian cuisine is especially important since it has a wide range of vegetarian dishes.
A common view of French cuisine is that all recipes start with, “Take a pound of melted butter and a pint of heavy cream …” Certainly, there are restaurants that serve meals prepared like this. However, cuisine varies by region, and many dishes are light and healthy. For example, dishes from the Provence region include bouillabaisse, ratatouille, and soupe au pistou.
There are many other cuisines such as Thai, Puerto Rican and Middle Eastern. For an exhaustive list, go to Wikipedia and search for the phrase “list of cuisines.”
When you go to a new restaurant, don’t worry too much about the calorie and fat content of what you eat. Your goal is to explore new tastes to find dishes you like. When you start the SWLL, you will be able to find recipes for these dishes that reduce the fat, salt and calories. However, it would be wise to limit your restaurant experiments to one or two a week. If you go out every night you will likely gain weight.
If you are a typical American, you don’t each much fish. But once you start the SWLL, you will get best results if you eat fish. Fish has fewer calories than meat and has healthier fat.
Again, the best way to experiment is to go to seafood restaurants. The big problem with such establishments is not the fish, but the way it is prepared and the condiments that come with it. Frying fish adds calories and fat, as does the drawn butter that comes with lobster. Your goal is to find dishes that taste good, but don’t have added calories. To achieve this, ask for your fish to be grilled or broiled, and to be served with lemon. See if you enjoy the meal with brown rice rather than French fries.
Another area of food experimentation is substitutions. The goal here is to try to identify food and beverages that taste almost as good as what you currently ingest, but have fewer calories.
Some examples are: Splenda, Stevia and Equal instead of sugar; diet Coke instead of full sugar Coke; baked potato chips instead of regular; non-fat Reddi-wip instead of full cream Reddi-wip; low fat or fat free frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
In the “SWLL Diet” chapter you will find other suggested substitutions. Experimenting with some of these is not advised before you start on the SWLL because the experiment will fail. For example, if you now drink whole milk, don’t experiment with skim milk. It will taste watery and you probably won’t like it. It takes about a month of drinking skim milk to become used to the taste and to like it.
When you start on the SWLL you will take up some forms of exercise. Now is a good time to do research and, maybe, to experiment. For example, if you don’t normally go for walks, find somewhere pleasant and walk with a companion. If your usual practice is to have a store clerk load the groceries into your car, do it yourself. Go to a gym and inspect the facilities and inquire about the costs.